Fire chiefs rescue residents

IPSWICH: Fire bosses have intervened in a row over an unpaid electricity bill after residents at a plush waterfront apartment block were left without working fire alarms or smoke detectors.

In an unprecedented move, senior officers warned that the flats at the partly-built Regatta Quay complex would have to be evacuated if EDF Energy failed to restore power to communal facilities.

Shocked residents were plunged into darkness on Thursday, leaving corridors unlit and the entrance security door unlocked.

The water supply was also cut after the electric pump which powers it was affected, while lifts were also left unusable.

But with no working fire alarms or smoke detectors, the potential for disaster prompted fire chiefs to step in.

Those living in Regatta Quay today heaped praise on the fire brigade for coming to their rescue - and told of the chaos caused by the blackout.

Resident Ash Marley said: “It was scary - it was pitch black everywhere.

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“It was so dangerous - some of the corridors have no windows and you really couldn’t see a thing.

“I was scared to leave my flat.”

Miss Marley, 26, who has lived in the flats for the last ten months, said the corridors were so dark she could not see more than a few inches in front of her.

The owner of the complex, City Living Developments Ltd, was placed in administration last year. London-based accountants Grant Thornton are now in charge of the complex.

EDF Energy said because of an on-going dispute with City Living they had no choice other than to disconnect the power.

After contacting Ipswich Borough Council for help, Miss Marley said the fire brigade visited the building to assess the safety issues.

“The chief fire officer who was here said unless the power was put back on they would have to evacuate the flats because without the fire alarms there was too great a safety risk,” Miss Marley said.

“I feel pretty flabbergasted that something like this can happen. I understand that the bill wasn’t paid but everyone was put at risk.

“I couldn’t see past the end of my nose and anybody could have wandered into the building.

“Anything could have happened, there could have been a fire - it was really very hazardous.

“It is thanks to the fire service that we have the power back on.”

The power was restored around 24 hours later on Friday afternoon despite the dispute still not being resolved with the developer.

Grant Thornton, acting on behalf of City Living, were unavailable for comment today.

n Have you been affected? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

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